New building, new challenges for Boys & Girls Club

 

DOVER — Only six months remain until the Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club opens at its new location on New Burton Road.

“When I first saw the steel going up, I wanted to cry,” said Darrell Tingle, director of business development for the Boys & Girls Club.

“It’s been an incredible 10-year journey to get here and it’s amazing to see the vision finally realized.”

Passers-by may see only the steel skeleton emerging from what was an open field, but that will change soon.

In the coming weeks a metal roof will be added along with wall framing. Drywall will be installed by October.

“This is a new challenge that has been met with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm,” said Jake Getty, the Greater Dover Boys and Girls Club’s new executive director. “From the staff to the kids, everyone’s excited for this.”

The new facility comprises nearly half of the building. The Boys & Girls Club will occupy the west end and the Kent County Recreation Center will occupy the east end, with both organizations sharing an entryway and lobby.

A construction time line of almost a year and the involvement of two large entities can be difficult to manage, but Lighthouse Construction Inc., headed by Bob MacLeish is on the job, coordinating most details on the Boys & Girls Club side.

Mr. MacLeish, president of Lighthouse, has 30 years experience in construction and during that time has become good at managing large projects like this.

“The cooperation has been great,” Mr. MacLeish said. “We all know this is a very important project because if we don’t get this right, it will raise doubt in our community.

“So it’s very meaningful to all of us.”

Mr. MacLeish said the two entities meet no less than biweekly to keep the project on track.

He described the construction process as a wave of tradesmen working from the back to front of the building with the next crew coming in right behind to get the following step completed to ensure progress is constantly being made.

In all, more than 40 organizations are working together to complete the new facility — 30,000 square feet for the Boys & Girls Club and 35,000 square feet for the county’s recreation center.

To get the most out of the Boys & Girls’ new location, Mr. MacLeish and club representatives visited other clubs in the area and took away the best aspects.

“We were the first Boys & Girls Club to open below the canal but Milford and Seaford have been ahead of us facility-wise but I think in the end, we will have them beat,” Mr. Tingle said.

The Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club currently has two permanent locations at Delaware State University and Simon Circle along with several school-based programs.

Mr. Getty said the New Burton Road facility will consolidate the DSU and Simon Circle locations which serve a combined 100 kids daily.

“The new location will allow us to take more kids and hopefully after we’ve been open for a year or so, we can get that number up to around 300,” he said.

The Boys & Girls Club serves children from preschool through high school and the new facility will hold six classrooms, a computer lab, activity rooms, a game room and two outdoor playgrounds.

Both Mr. Getty and Mr. Tingle anticipate the new location will be more conducive to learning.

“The classrooms will support the Delaware Stars Program and really lend themselves to a top-notch learning environment for kids of all ages,” Mr. Getty said.

Delaware Stars for Early Success is a state-funded initiative to connect children with experienced and well-qualified educators to promote early learning and support children’s emotional and social development.

Mr. MacLeish plans on the building being low-maintenance, energy efficient and estimates it will last about 40 to 50 years.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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